Located on the east coast of Florida, 40 miles north of Palm Beach, Stuart is a quaint beach town where natural beauty takes center stage. A true gem on what's known as Florida's "Treasure Coast," Stuart has maintained its small town, family friendly charm. From secluded beaches to rare and historical attractions, it is a locale with plenty of activities for children.
Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center
A must-see for children, the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center gives visitors the opportunity to feed a stingray, touch horseshoe crabs and get an up-close view of sea turtles. Guests can enjoy educational marine-life programs and round out the visit with a walk on the nature trail that leads to the Indian River Lagoon. Affordable for families, the cost of admission goes toward the Florida Oceanographic Society's mission to protect Florida's coastal ecosystem through education and research.
The Elliott Museum completed a multimillion dollar rebuilding in 2013, showcasing art, history and technology. Kids will especially enjoy the Wheels of Change Exhibit, which features a huge collection of vintage automobiles and trucks that are rolled out onto a turntable -- a technology invented by Sterling Elliott himself -- from a robotic, three-story stacking system. Young baseball fans will marvel at the expansive collection of signed baseball memorobilia. The Elliott Museum also offers summer creativity camps.
House of Refuge
A short distance from the Elliott Museum, the only remaining House of Refuge is the oldest structure in Martin County and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Kids can tour the house that dates to the early 1900s and was used as a haven for shipwrecked sailors and travelers along the Atlantic Coast. Walking through the keeper's quarters, boathouse and lookout tower, visitors get a glimpse of life at the turn of the century on Florida's barren east coast.
Sailfish Splash Waterpark
Kids young and old alike can take a fun-filled break from the heat at Sailfish Splash Waterpark, a state-of-the-art aquatics complex. Featuring a lazy river, water slides and water playground, the park also boasts a competitive swim area with regulation swimming and diving pools. Complete with concessions, picnic areas and plenty of shade and deck space, families can splash the day away. The waterpark also offers a summer camp program, special events and birthday party packages.
Time well-spent in Stuart wouldn't be complete without a trip to the beach. Bathtub Reef is a popular choice for families with young children as this locale allows for a safe ocean experience without the risk of strong waves. At low tide, shallow pools pave the way for wading, paddle boarding, snorkeling and shelling. Bathtub Reef boasts a shaded gazebo with picnic tables and handy outdoor showers so little ones can leave the sand behind before heading home.